Leah Speckhard is an artist who celebrates what it’s like to come of age in today’s increasingly global community. The daughter of a US diplomat, Leah spent her teenage and college years living in Belarus, Belgium and Greece, the latter in which she found her voice as a ballad-driven songstress and was signed to Greek major label Legend Records. Through Legend Speckhard released the album Pour Out Your Heart Like Water, which received positive press in both People Magazine and Athens’ largest newspaper, Proto Thema. Her songs, which attempt to decipher and emote the complicated nature of romantic relationships, are inspired by a diverse array of artists and genres, from Marina and the Diamonds and La Roux to Ben Folds.
Once more a global transplant, Speckhard moved to Brooklyn and has played gigs showcasing her emerging talent at Manhattan hotspots such as Pianos, Bowery Electric, Arlene's Grocery, and Rockwood Music Hall. Currently she is focusing on expanding her pop credentials to include both hip-hop and house influences, and released her EP, Sleepwalker,via an exclusive stream on Artist Direct's website.
Speckhard moved to New York to give her music a shot in the US market, and found herself feeling both inspired by and lost in the NYC music scene. “I felt the pangs of growing up, or refusing to grow up, on my EP,” Speckhard says, noting that she was influenced in songs like “Time Machine” by reading about the delayed development many twenty-somethings experience in a Girls-esque world. “I really wanted an escape,” Speckhard says, “I wanted something I could both dance and cry to on this EP.”
On Sleepwalker, Speckhard explores themes like heartbreak from a feminist perspective. “I was reading all these articles about how men convince women that they’re crazy, and stumbled across this feminist term ‘Gaslighting’, taken from an old movie where a guy convinces his wife she’s going crazy by flickering lights, and telling her nothing’s happening. I saw it happening metaphorically to so many women I knew, so that’s where the inspiration for the track ‘Gaslighting’ came from,” Speckhard explains.
Speckhard has always been driven to explore philosophical and moral issues in her songwriting, and linked them to love. She notes, “Break-ups and relationship pain trigger all this existential angst for people - I realized that when I sit down to write a song, I’m really trying to understand the world around me and make some sense of it.” The evolution from folksy ballads to stronger beats and house rhythms happened naturally as she soaked up some European influences, and realized she wanted the passion and anger in her lyrics reflected in stronger beats and bass lines.
Leah's tongue-in-cheek music video about a cheating guy for her single "If you died in the morning", released via an exclusive premiere on AXS, can be viewed on Youtube here: